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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Obama's speech to Congress wins praise, while Jindal's response judged 'downright strange.' Plus: Is Jindal the 'anti-Palin' Republican?

• "It came a bit late, but Barack Obama finally gave his inaugural address. It was sweeping, and it was grand," Richard Cohen declares.

• Writing in The New Republic, Walter Shapiro agrees, arguing that Obama "finally hit his long-awaited rhetorical moment with his maiden address to the Congress."

 

• "The new President made clear in his first State of the Union address that he believes in government power as the answer to our current difficulties, and he intends to use it," the Wall Street Journal editorial board remarks, with reservations.

• "Tuesday night's speech was the most comprehensive manifesto he has offered yet for his new rendezvous with America's progressive tradition," E. J. Dionne Jr. contends.

David Ignatius deems that "it was a strong, ambitious speech, important not just for what Obama said but for what he still has in reserve in terms of leadership and rhetorical power."

 

Dissecting The Details

Doyle McManus believes that Obama's speech should be compared to those by Ronald Reagan because he "turned his presidency into a permanent campaign to rally public support to his side, even when Congress was skeptical."

• The New York Times editorial board sees the address as a "refreshing change after" the President's "less-than-forceful handling of the stimulus bill."

• "The treatment of foreign policy" in his speech "was perfunctory at best," William Kristol chides.

• The Washington Post editorial board worries that the speech showed Obama trying to do too much too soon and urges him to focus on the "stomach-churning" economic downturn first.

 

Marie Cocco maintains that "for the first time, the president took a teachable moment on the banking crisis and used the instructional time fairly well."

• "Coming after Obama's boffo performance, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's Don Knotts-like 'golly gee willikers' story-telling and cadence was, how does one put this delicately, downright strange," Jonathan Capehart quips.

• Analyzing Jindal, Michael Gerson calls him the "anti-Palin" Republican.

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• Various political experts, including Democratic strategist Robert Shrum and Republican strategist Greg Mueller, review Obama's speech in the Washington Post.

Stimulating Talk

• With the headline, "Cheerful givers, grumpy receivers," Clarence Page dissects the "interesting predicament" GOP governors find themselves in with the stimulus: reluctantly accepting the money while criticizing the legislation.

Ruth Marcus addresses "three huge bets" on which "Obama's plan to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path hinges."

Maureen Dowd is fuming over the news that a Chicago bank, after receiving $1.5 billion in bailout money, flew hundreds of its employees to California for "four days of posh hotel rooms" and more.

• "All eyes are on Washington to pull the world out of its economic tailspin," Thomas L. Friedman senses, reporting from South Korea. "At no time in the last 50 years have we ever felt weaker, and at no time in the last 50 years has the world ever seen us as more important."

Holman Jenkins Jr. jeers that the Obama administration's "preoccupations... are being exposed in the global economic disaster as the soppy indulgences they always were."

Odds And Ends

Jeff Jacoby picks apart Attorney General Eric Holder's recent comments on race.

Harold Meyerson profiles Tom Geoghegan, who is running for Rahm Emanuel's vacant congressional seat in Chicago.

Thomas Frank reviews "'Ambushed on the Potomac,' a look back at the George W. Bush administration by Richard Perle."

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